The colder weather is here and Thanksgiving has made its appearance. That means that the holiday parties are soon going to start. If you plan on drinking alcohol while you celebrate the festive season with your friends and family members, you should make your plans now for how you will get home. The last thing you want to do this holiday season is get slapped with a DUI because you were trying to make it home from a party.

If you have been drinking, you might not realize the level of your impairment. The effects that alcohol can have on your ability to drive begin to become evident when your blood alcohol concentration is as low as .02 to .03 percent. At this level, you are likely to feel lightheaded. That can make driving difficult.

As your BAC climbs to .04 to .06 percent, you might start to throw caution to the wind, which is dangerous while you drive. You might also suffer from trouble reasoning. As it climbs even closer to the legal limit of .08 percent, your speech, vision, balance, hearing and reaction abilities are all negatively affected. Even if you think you are doing fine at this point, you likely aren’t.

If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and your BAC is found to be .08 percent or greater, you will be arrested for DUI and you will face criminal charges. You also face administrative penalties like a driver’s license suspension. At this point, your focus has to be on building your defense to try to minimize the consequences you will face because of the charges.

Source: Be Responsible About Drinking, “Effects at Specific B.A.C. Levels,” accessed Nov. 27, 2015